Vivid Producer of the Month: A to Z Wineworks

"Business should be conducted as if people and places matter" says Deb Hatcher, founder of A to Z Wineworks. Her winery is now Oregon's largest - but for the A to Z team, it was never just about being the biggest.

They want to be the best, and to do that, they aim to create benefit, rather than simply 'doing no harm'. The driving goal behind A to Z Wineworks is to create the highest quality wine, with the greatest sustainable value, that they can. Every aspect of their viticulture, practices and profits is centred around being a force for good, and representing the change they want to see in the world.

'More than wine'

Taste A to Z's range, and it's clear to see why it has grown to become such a behemoth of winemaking in Oregon. Consistently well-made, the wines capture the essence of the region - and the winemaking team put the same care into their vineyards as they do every bottle. After all, when all grapes are locally sourced, you want to know the land they come from is thriving.

The team is committed to preserving healthy ecosystems, and utilise research and innovative technology to work as sustainably as possible. They're aiming to have a positive impact on the planet - all direct sales shipping is carbon neutral, and the winery holds Silver PGE status for wind power credits, demonstrating their commitment to sustainable energy sources.

Equality in and out of the workplace

Equality amongst the workforce is a hugely important aspect of day-to-day business for A to Z. 100% of workers are paid more than the local living wage, and are guaranteed health benefit premiums. Diversity is key; a third are members of under-represented populations, and half of management are women. The winery operates on the understanding that its staff are dependent on one another, and everyone is required to accept responsibility both for each other and for future generations. The happiness and development of staff, along with that of their families, are a key measure of success.

But A to Z isn't just concerned with the health and wellbeing of its workers. It aims to create an inclusive economy within the wider community, believing that a shared, durable prosperity will benefit everyone. The winery works with multiple community organisations to make a difference in local arts, education, access to healthcare, and social justice, and is fully committed to building a safe, stimulating environment for everyone around it.

'Commerce with conscience' and the B Corp movement

It's easy enough to find certifications that prove a winery's 'green' credentials - and the list is ever-growing - but, as Deb and her team found, it's rarer to find one that directly addresses a business' practices and community involvement. Luckily A to Z discovered just that in B Corporation, a movement that encourages businesses to be sustainable for the benefit of their workers and the wider community.

A to Z became a registered B Corp in 2015, and proudly waves the flag for the movement today, describing how the certification demonstrates a combination of 'commerce with conscience'. As Deb says, "We have always tried to model best practices, and be a best partner in all our dealings. As we continue to grow economically, we can also now through B Lab measure our improvement in environmental and social practices. The bigger we get, the more good we can do, the more opportunities for our employees, and the more visibility for our model. We hope to inspire businesses to compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world."

Want to know more?

Check out our other sustainable producers here.

Having spent childhood summers trekking through Italian vineyards, Elisa’s love of wine started at a young age. After a few stints working in pubs across the UK, she realised she could try far more samples working in a wine company, and landed at Bibendum two years ago. Now, she spends her days looking after digital marketing: writing, posting on social media, and everything in between.

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